DOH spox Vergeire is next NVOC chair

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THE Department of Health (DOH) confirmed Wednesday that DOH spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire would be the next chairperson of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) upon the appointment of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Duque designated Vergeire as the next Incident Manager of the country’s operations center, soon taking the place of incumbent NVOC chair Myrna Cabotaje who is set to finish her term on June 30, 2022.

In a statement, the DOH underscored that the move to replace the head of NVOC is in line with the forthcoming administration and it is for the same reason that changes might still occur. 

This succession is meant to avoid gaps in the implementation of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program, as the new administration transitions in,” the DOH said.

The Department, including Usec. Vergeire will welcome the guidance and decisions of the incoming administration as regards the leadership of NVOC,” it added.

The NVOC is in charge of supervising programs involving the government’s vaccination response against COVID-19. These include monitoring of the vaccine storage and inventory and providing guidelines for vaccination drives.

Shortly after the announcement, Vergeire attested the new designation and expressed her gratitude to Cabotaje in a media briefing she held on the same day.

Vergeire, however, deferred the final decision to President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. who has yet to choose his administration’s health secretary.

That is the assignment. Pero syempre kapag pumasok po ‘yong bagong administrasyon, maaari pa rin po magbago iyan,” Vergeire emphasized.

(That is the assignment. But it could still change once the new administration comes in.)

Pero sa ngayon po na naibigay sa atin ‘yung assignment, of course, unang-una gusto ho natin pasalamatan si Usec. Myrna (But for now that the assignment was given to me, of course, I would first like to thank Usec. Myrna), under of course, the leadership of Secretary Duque, for all her efforts and excellent way of leading our National Vaccination Operations Center wherein we were able to achieve 70 plus million of our Filipino population have been vaccinated,” she added.

Prior to her stint as DOH spokesperson since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vergeire once served as the deputy director-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the time of the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

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